21 March 2018
World Down Syndrome Day – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Julie Doran
The first World Down Syndrome Day was held in 2006 and has been celebrated on 21st March each year since. The date is not coincidental but chosen specifically to correspond with Trisomy 21. The term trisomy is used to describe the presence of three chromosomes, rather than the usual matched pair of chromosomes. Trisomy 21 is also known as Down syndrome. World Down Syndrome Day is all about raising awareness of this genetic condition and finding ways to improve the lives of those who have it.
I’m sure all of you have come into contact with a person who has Down Syndrome at one time or another. They are usually free-spirited and happy individuals, and often surrounded by adoring friends and loved ones. However, they often face challenges in everyday life, and many simple things we take for granted can prove extremely difficult for them, despite their admirably positive attitude.
One of the greatest challenges that people with Down Syndrome face each day is the attitude of other people who do not understand the condition. Despite more education many people still do not see the individual and unique person, they just see “Down Syndrome.” So on World Down Syndrome Day, I put it to you to take some time out to talk about, raise awareness of this condition, and celebrate the awesome achievements and goals that so many people with Down Syndrome reach every day.
• The population of people with Down Syndrome in Australia is now over 13,000.
• Down syndrome is a genetic condition. It is not an illness or a disease.
• People with Down Syndrome have 47 chromosomes in their cells instead of 46. They have an extra chromosome 21.
• Down Syndrome occurs at conception and we do not know the reason why it happens, only that it is no one’s fault, it happens across all ethnic and social groups across the world.
• Down syndrome is the most common chromosome disorder.
People with Down syndrome have:
• Some characteristic physical features.
• Some health and development challenges.
• Some level of intellectual disability.
Because no two people are alike, each of these things will vary from one person to another.
Most of the young people growing up with Down syndrome today will lead quite ordinary lives in the community. Some people with Down syndrome may not need much help to lead an ordinary life, while others may require a lot of support.
If you, a loved one or someone you know has Down syndrome, please give us a call at Interchange Australia on 1300 112 334 and we will be able to assist with many aspects of support.
For more information about Down Syndrome, visit the Down Syndrome Australia website